Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Numerical simulations of flow discharge and behaviours in spillways

Time: Mon 2021-03-01 13.00

Location: Videolänk, Du som saknar dator /datorvana kontakta Anders Ansell / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance., Stockholm, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Civil and Architectural Engineering, Concrete Structures

Doctoral student: Shicheng Li , Betongbyggnad

Opponent: Associate Professor Sébastien Erpicum, University of Liege, Belgium

Supervisor: Professor Anders Ansell, Betongbyggnad; adj prof James Yang, Betongbyggnad

Export to calendar


A spillway is an important component of a dam and serves as a flood release structure. It achieves controlled discharge of water and protects the dam from overtopping. The majority of the hydropower dams were built before the 1980s, and many spillways are undersized in light of the present design flood guidelines. Another issue that arises in connection with the high design floods is the energy dissipation capacity. Many existing energy-dissipating arrangements are insufficient or construed only for a design flood standard at the time of dam construction. The increment in the flood discharges requires that the energy dissipation should be improved to obtain sufficient capacity or higher efficiency. In addition, the high-velocity flow is a major concern in the design of spillways. If the flow velocity exceeds approximately 20 m/s, the risk of cavitation may arise. In Sweden, many dams belong to this category. To address these issues, an assessment of their discharge behaviours is required. Innovative engineering solutions for better energy dissipation and cavitation mitigation are also necessary for safe operation. This thesis presents machine learning based methods for discharge estimation. Three data-driven models are developed to study the discharge behaviours of the overflow weirs. Their reliability is validated through the comparison with the experimental and empirical results. These models are capable of giving accurate predictions and show superiority over the conventional approaches. With high accuracy and adaptability, data-driven models are an effective and fast alternative for spillway discharge prediction. This research also focuses on the hydraulic design of stepped spillways, aiming to devise innovative engineering solutions to enhance energy dissipation and reduce cavitation risks. Consequently, several unconventional step layouts are conceived and their hydraulic behaviours are investigated. The modified configurations include steps with chamfers and cavity blockages, non-linear steps and inclined steps. This part attempts to gain insight into the effects of the step geometries on the spillway hydraulics via computational fluid dynamics, which provides references for engineering applications.